Tag Archives: engagement session

Engagement Session with Sam and Steve at Paterson Great Falls and Art Factory Studios

I’ll be photographing Sam and Steve’s wedding at Art Factory Studios this October. Until then we just had to take some photos together. You know. Kick the tires and make sure we’re a well-oiled machine on the actual wedding day. Since they’re both big music fans I wanted to make sure we worked in that element for at least a couple shots. We hazed up the room where Alice In Chain’s filmed their “Voices” music video and I brought along my Stratocaster to use as a prop. If you’re looking for an industrial wedding venue then this is it, folks.

I used several MagMod products for the interior shots and, of course, that included gels. When I first started using gels years ago I got so much crap for it. But I will never stop using them. You hear me, world? GELS4LIFE.

Without further adieu I give you SAM AND STEVE’S UNCENSORED ENGAGEMENT SESSION!

Goblin Market Wedding

Special thanks to Events by Merida’s very own Merida for crafting this treasure trove of words.

Christina Rossetti’s Goblin Market is a dark fairytale, replete with small, tempting creatures, erotic phrasing, and a simple message:

Don’t eat strange fruit.

I’d been wanting to create this styled shoot for over a year, but I kept shelving it for various reasons. Finally, I sprung it on Chris of That Werks Photography– an incredibly talented photog out of the Art Factory in Paterson- with a, “this might seem weird…” His response?

“Count me in!”

I gathered some favorite vendors (and improv-ed a little) to bring my vision to life. A favorite MUA of Chris’s, Raen, came in to do the makeup, and she brought along two models from northern NJ, Rebecca and Natasha. A model I’ve been waiting for a long time to have the stars align on was able to come down for the shoot as well.

What never fails to astound me is the talent that these vendors bring to the table. Hair was by Jaimee of William Jean Salon, and she was also kind enough to loan us Maven, her darling mini-me, to be our “goblin”. She used the natural texture of Rebecca’s hair to create a gorgeous boho style, woven with greens. There was the same greenery in Natasha and Angeline’s hair. Fun coincidence: both Maven and Natasha have part of their heads shaved!

For makeup, I asked Raen for deep, rich colors on the lips. After that, I just let her go wild. Metallics came popping out on eyelids in addition to daring lip colors. The blue on Rebecca is probably my favorite, but I’ve always been a fan of dark lipsticks.

As for the “bouquets”, I wanted to do something slightly different. Lanterns have been in style for awhile as both centerpieces and to carry down the aisle (and pretty much everywhere in-between). I think they’re great for bouquets because they’re more natural to hold, and easier on the Person of Honor that has to hold two of them during the ceremony. I even managed to sneak some fruit in there with the candle!

Finally, the tablescape. Chris (the photographer) and I went out about a week before the shoot to take a look at locations in the park. The visitor center there does do receptions, FYI. However, we wanted it outdoors. What complicated things was that up until a few days before, it looked like it was going to rain! Luckily, we ended up having beautiful weather!

We came down a rather steep hill to an area by the Delaware that had a semi-circle of stone pavers. The backdrop was an island in the middle of the river. I initially planned a thick runner of eucalyptus or ferns, but I had so much moss that we covered the table in it. I dotted with the table with vintage (and vintage looking) pieces, and tons of fruit. We broke open a few pomegranates (and thankfully there were geeks abounding that got my Persephone jokes), and threw bundles of odd-looking grapes around to create a lush, but wild, feel.

When it came to create the dynamics of the group, I knew I wanted to have two women. It would have been disingenuous to the author to have it otherwise. Christina Rossetti’s work is complicated and influenced by many themes, but given the vivid imagery of her poetry, many people speculate that she was likely a closeted lesbian- which at the time, was the only way you could be a lesbian and not get into serious trouble. I knew we needed kids in the shoot to be the little folk, and I wanted a bridesmaid to bring together the colors of the shoot.

Dressing them was fun! BHLDN was kind enough to loan us two gorgeous dresses, and the bridesmaid’s dress was a burgundy convertible dress.

As for the cake- we shot this in the depth of wedding season, so all of the bakers are keeping up with their clients! This where some improv came in- and it’s a great DIY option. I found a pretty little buttercream cake at Wegman’s, and we surrounded it with greenery and fruit. I set the table up against a stone pillar overgrown with ivy- it seemed fitting for the theme, and I’m always a fan of using the elements around you. I used a scarlet tablecloth and hung copper twinkle lights behind the table to give it depth.

What was funny was as the girls were doing their cake cutting, a group of fishers came down to the river to join us! Apparently we interrupted their nightly routine. They were extremely kind as we finished up. It seemed like such a quaint ending to the shoot.

At the end of the day, all of the elements came together beautifully. I’m just glad we could do justice to Rossetti’s work.

I hope you enjoy the photos as much as we enjoyed making them!

Merida Alexander
+1 215.527.5344
@eventsbymerida
As seen on: 
NBC Philadelphia, The Knot,
WeddingWire, Green Wedding Shoes,
Offbeat Bride, and Philly in Love
Styled Wedding by Events by Merida with photography by That Werks (Christopher John Sztybel)

Kelly and Mike’s Totally Tubular Engagement Session

Each time I do a wedding or engagement for people I like to think of something different. Something that will stand out and make people remember a particular shot. This time around we shot Kelly and Mike using a big ass tube that someone discarded. One man’s trash is another’s treasure. We did whatever the hell we wanted during this shoot and I’m always grateful for clients, family or not, that are up for some horseplay and antics.

Take a look at the shots below and then contact me through my new totally tubular photography site and schedule your very own shoot.

Kelly and Mike's engagement session at The Art Factory in Paterson, New Jersey

An Engagement Session Featuring a Latin Circus, Rolling Pin Violence and Matching Flannel Apparel

If you are looking for a “normal” engagement session, I officially don’t do them anymore. This engagement session is next level. The Latin Circus discovery happened on accident and my only regret is it seemed to be vacant that day or else we would have definitely tamed a lion. I’ve known these two characters for a while now and enjoy seeing two wacky people that genuinely care for one another. It’s a pleasure to shoot the reality of it all. When I asked Vin to lay down on a questionable furry rug and have Jenna rule over him like a Queen…they both did it. Top notch effort all around.

I haven’t really talked about my gear much lately. These days I shoot on the Sony A7RII which is definitely the most versatile camera body I’ve ever used. For both my photo and cinema work, there really hasn’t been anything engineered like this camera. The quality of the final images is slamming, the files are easy to work with and the dynamic range through the roof. Not to mention it has in-camera image stabilization. In the new year I will be transitioning over to Sony lenses. Far less weight, much sharper and less expense than the EOS mount lenses I currently use with a Metabones adapter. The Sony Carl Zeiss and G Master lenses are designed to take full advantage of all the bells and whistles the camera offers me.

Now let’s cut to the chase and behold the greatness of Vin and Jenna’s engagement session highlights!

To see my work, visit thatwerksphotography.com and remember 2017 WILL BE UNSTOPPABLY AWESOME.

Engagement Session at The Art Factory in Paterson, NJ

Katie and Andre’s Point Pleasant Boardwalk Engagement Session

Memorial Day weekend. Point Pleasant, New Jersey. Traffic. Kohr Bros. ice cream. Mayhem. Fried pickles. Seagulls. Funnel cake. Fresh sea air. Rides. People fighting on the beach. People dancing on the beach. People in love on the beach.

Here’s to (somewhat) maintaining my balance on a moving carousel. Here’s to taking Uber for 4 totally walkable blocks. Here’s to Katie and Andre.

View my photography work at thatwerksphotography.com

Point Pleasant Beach, NJ engagement session

 

Bubble Blowing with Michelle Under The Bridge

I added a facet to this lifestyle modeling session that I haven’t tried before. Bubbles. The idea came to me as summer slowly slips through our fingers. Soon everyone in New Jersey will be wearing snowboots and wool. Before that happens I wanted to do something with a fun nod to summer. Armed with $4.00 worth of bubbles from the dollar store we went to the train bridge at Johnson Park in Piscataway, New Jersey. The graffiti on the walls always brings a nice texture to things and I thought it complimented the theme nicely.

The final bubble blowing image is actually a composite of many photos of the bubbles being blown in front of the camera. Here’s what that looked like while I was working on it:

Bubble layers

Bubble blowing composite

Before I forget to mention it, let’s rewind to the part of the day before I arrived to the shoot location. A great blue heron was spotted in the little creek that flows through Johnson Park and under River Road:

Great Blue Heron

…And now, without further interruption, select photos from the bubble blowing bonanza…

Blowing bubbles with Michelle in the park

Trash the Dress and Birthday in Asbury Park, New Jersey

Clients are interesting. Within just a few months I have had multiple requests to shoot in Asbury Park. That is good for the city and even better for my stomach because it’s full of great places to eat.

Kristen and John came down and it was also Kristen birthday so she wanted new portraits of herself, with John and also getting her wedding dress a little messed up by the Atlantic Ocean.

Depending on a person’s attachment to a dress, “trash the dress” is open to interpretation. Since we weren’t going to muddy it up or set it on fire,  I thought a literal “trash the dress” would be funny.

Portraits with Kristen Driscoll in Asbury Park, New Jersey

Engagement Session at Washington Rock and Johnson Park with Devanee and Narpat

Devanee and Narpat had a two part engagement session thanks to torrential rain at Washington Rock National Park. The vegetation was watered plentifully that day my friends! Oh yes! Luckily I came prepared and we shot some great stuff with their Scrabble board and umbrella before calling it a night. Sandwich bags on the flashes and umbrellas over cameras! I stop for nothing.

One week later we finished up at Johnson Park which is near my home in New Brunswick. It’s a lovely place and they even have animals like deer and goats. (A little tidbit of information, the boardwalk and lake you see in the photos are there because that area would constantly flood. The Raritan River loves spilling over, so they just went with it and voila!)

We summoned the eternal spirit of Patrick Swayze and did some picnic table dancing and a dip at dusk. The the sun peaced out and so did we. Special thanks to Vincent Meli and Jeff Heckman for assisting with these shots.

To see more of my photography work, please visit http://www.thatwerksphotography.com

Washington Rock engagement session with Scrabble theme

Ok we’re all completely saturated from sideways rain. Time for a quick change! Voila! Now we’re in a new location with fresh clothes and a moody sky, but no rain.

Johnson Park Piscataway, NJ engagement shoot

Christine and Joe’s Asbury Park Engagement Session

It’s July 4th weekend, people! As the saying goes, celebrate the independence of our country by blowing up a small part of it. This engagement session is timely for such an occasion because we have Christine and Joe who are recently engaged. Joe serves in the United States Army. Christine had a few shots in mind, but the rest was up to me. We made the most of the sunset in Asbury. The boardwalk is always filled with families, dogs and joggers. It’s rude to grab random dogs and pose with them, so they brough their own…BENNY!

Benny kept everyone entertained by being freaking adorable and eating his snacks between shutter clicks. Christine’s mom came along and took Benny home after he was done being awesome.

The remainder of our time shooting was spent on the beach and boardwalk. We lucked out getting very wide shots of the abandoned casino. For some of the casino shots, I lit up the inside with my ABR800 at 1/1 power. It’s nice to show off the architecture. Thank you Christine and Joe for hustling with me to get these wonderful photographs. Congratulations to both of you on your engagement and please, please use Benny as the ring bearer.

To see more of my photography work, please visit http://www.thatwerksphotography.com

Asbury Park engagement session

Vivian And Richard’s Wedding at The Chauncey Hotel in Princeton, New Jersey

Vivian and Richard had an intimate ceremony with a few family members at The Chauncey Hotel in Princeton, NJ. I can work a hectic fast-paced wedding, but I’m not going to lie and say smaller weddings aren’t a special kind of joy for me. I can say hi to each person in attendance and even have a conversation or two! That’s not something I can afford to do every time. Here are just a few of the photos taken on this lovely Sunday afternoon.

If you would like to see more of my photography work, please visit http://www.thatwerksphotography.com

Vivian and Richard's wedding ceremony at the Chauncey Hotel in Princeton, New Jersey